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Thursday, June 30, 2016
Scheduling time for the recommended levels of physical activity is essential to overall health. Physical activity can help control weight, reduce risk for many diseases (heart disease and some cancers), strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mental health, and increase your chances of living longer.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Aerobic activity such as brisk walking or general gardening should be done in episodes of at least 10 minutes and preferably should be spread throughout the week. For children and teenagers, the recommendation is for 1 hour of daily physical activity that includes vigorous activities and activities that strengthen their bones.
Making physical activities fun can affect how children and teenagers respond to changes in their routine. Programmed, repetitious exercise may work for adults, but it rarely works for children. Look for ways to add physical activity throughout the day. When possible, parents should walk with children to and from school, and children should have scheduled time to play. Because safety is a real concern in many neighborhoods, citizens should talk with their local elected officials and members of law enforcement to find ways to improve safety so everyone can walk or play outdoors.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, 6th edition, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.
This information appears in The Surgeon General's Vision for Healthy and Fit Nation 2010.
Last Reviewed: Aug 18, 2014